Google Slapped Newsday For Link Selling

    July 14, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

New York City publication Newsday saw its PageRank drop from 8 to 5 after Google took offense at the paper’s linking practice.

Long Islanders may have experienced a little trouble finding Newsday in search results on Google recently. Some link selling shenanigans evidently grabbed Google’s attention, with the usual penalty meted out for playing that game.

SERoundtable said the incident took place in June, as the SEO manager for Newsday posted about the drop in PageRank in the Google Webmaster Help forum.

“I did a site review and I don’t see anything materially different than what is on the other Tribune newspaper sites,” Brent Payne wrote. “We are pearly white in regards to paid links.”

But not in this case. Although other newspaper properties owned by Newsday’s parent Tribune Company nofollowed the links in their page footers, Newsday’s passed nice, sweet link juice to their destinations without any nofollow tags in place.

Someone at Google responded in the thread, noting how those bottom of the page “Featured Links” contained some of the hottest keywords out there, like mesothelioma lawyer, lung cancer, and personal injury law firm. Those links are no longer present on Newsday’s pages.